The secure Home for your Bitcoin.

In 2020, Casa focused on improving Bitcoin self-custody and security for everyone.

In 2021, Casa will continue our laser focus on improving the user experience and security of Bitcoin self-custody, helping our existing customers and future bitcoin adopters to feel comfortable securing their bitcoin.

Today, I want to take a moment to share more about Casa’s long-term goals.

Private Keys Empower Individuals

Casa was founded on the idea that private keys are a critical technology for empowering individuals. Private keys secure sensitive data and give you sole control over that data as long as you hold the keys. Control is power, thus encryption endows you with digital power. Private keys unlock a future where you have true ownership over your money, data, identity, and more. Private keys are inherently personal, so at Casa we call them “personal keys.”

Private keys unlock a future where you have true ownership over your money, data, identity, and more. Private keys are inherently personal, so at Casa we call them “personal keys.”

Although the idea of encryption and digital ownership seems futuristic, private key technology isn’t new. It has existed for decades. Governments, companies, and cypherpunks have historically used private keys. Though their use may seem to have bypassed the everyday person, you have unknowingly used private keys as part of a consumer product (iMessage is one example). But you are not typically the sole holder of that key (Apple holds keys for you). Thus, you are never the true owner of the information that we send via these services.

Why haven’t people demanded to hold their own keys? Two reasons: it’s hard, and there hasn’t been a compelling reason to do so. Until Bitcoin.

With Bitcoin, there is a practical reason to hold private keys: securing money. When holding your own keys and using the right software to help, you have better security than you ever could with someone else holding your keys.

The First Crack in the Dam

Most people begin holding their bitcoin keys because they want better security.

Then comes Freedom.

You realize how amazing it is that only you can access your money. You don’t need permission to send money anywhere, and no one else can lose it by mistake. Exchange hacks don't cause you to lose bitcoin. Not even banking system failures can restrict access to your money.

This is the lightbulb moment when people realize the power of private keys. Bitcoin is the first crack in the dam. Bitcoin allows true ownership of money. But it’s only the beginning.

This is the lightbulb moment when people realize the power of private keys. Bitcoin is the first crack in the dam. Bitcoin allows true ownership of money. But it’s only the beginning.

What if you could truly own other important things in your life as well?  

What’s Next for Personal Keys?

Personal keys will grant ownership of everything critical to our personal lives. Here are a few examples.

Our identity

Identity starts small, where personal keys are used as an easier way to login to websites, instead of a username and password. This eliminates the hassle of keeping a variety of (usually weak) passwords for each new website account you create. Instead, one or more keys “automagically” logs you in with a simple, unforgeable signature.

This will grow into more critical forms of identity ownership through personal keys. Replace government identity (like Social Security Numbers in the US) with personal keys. Secure medical records with personal keys. Protect the deed to physical property with personal keys. In all these situations, personal keys give you more security and ownership over your most valuable possession - your own identity.

What happens if someone loses their key? Would they lose their entire identity?

This is a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. Technology like multisig can be helpful here. Multiple keys protecting your identity will be critical, so losing one key will not mean catastrophic loss. Multiple keys can even enable more nuanced types of authentication. For example, authenticating with your government identity should require approval with multiple keys, while logging into a trivial website would only need approval from one.

Our communications

Millions of people use private keys for encrypted communication when they use apps like WhatsApp. This generally keeps someone (like a hacker) from remotely accessing and reading your text messages. Yet, these keys are often centrally managed by the companies who created the app, so those companies can still access your personal conversations.

As people become more aware of the breaches in our personal privacy that feed advertising business models for large tech companies, they will seek more assurance of privacy in their communications. We can see this trend already with the growth of Signal, the end-to-end encrypted chat app. As more communications migrate to end-to-end solutions, people will need a way to securely store, manage, and recover the personal keys which enable that encryption.

Our data

Finally, personal keys can encrypt any type of data. You'll encrypt personal or family photos, documents, and many other types of private information before storing it in the cloud. Personal keys will ensure that only you as the original owner (and those to whom you grant access) have access to that data.

Some Caveats

Personal keys will grant real ownership and control over everything that is important in our lives. But this does not mean that all this data will be “on a blockchain.” The blockchain format is useful for storing and transferring money (via Bitcoin). It might also have uses for other data, such as certain forms of digital identity. But not everything belongs on a blockchain. For example, there is no reason to use a blockchain for encrypted chat. We don’t need chat messages stored immutably on thousands of distributed computers around the world. Personal keys will still encrypt chat messages, but those messages won’t be going on a blockchain.

The main consumer use case for key management remains securing Bitcoin. Using keys to secure our important personal data is a seismic shift in how we use technology, and it will take time to come to fruition. This is why Casa is focusing on Bitcoin security today.

We are early in the adoption cycle of personal keys as a technology. The main consumer use case for key management remains securing Bitcoin. Using keys to secure our important personal data is a seismic shift in how we use technology, and it will take time to come to fruition. This is why Casa is focusing on Bitcoin security today. It would be a mistake to try to push adoption of the other types of key management before the infrastructure and user demand are developed.

So, what is Casa?

As you use keys to protect all kinds of critical personal data, starting with money, you need a way to secure those keys. If you’ll remember back to why I said private keys haven’t been adopted yet despite existing for decades:

  • There hasn’t been a technological use case compelling enough to generate consumer demand for holding their own keys. Bitcoin has put the crack in the dam, and demand for holding keys is growing.
  • There wasn’t an easy way to manage keys you hold.

Casa is solving the second problem. At our core, Casa is a personal key manager. We are the home for your keys, and that starts with Bitcoin.

We are excited for the future of personal keys, and we’re building the foundation for a future of individual sovereignty. That future will take time to develop. In the meantime, we are going to be the best personal key manager for your Bitcoin.

You can have true ownership of your money, and Casa can help. Take the first step; make that crack in the dam. Only you can make that choice, and that’s what truly matters.